Improving Linux Startup Time Using Software Resume (and other techniques)

This paper presents a new resume operation as well as other startup time improvement techniques which are aimed at achieving fast startup time for embedded Linux systems. A new fast boot method called snapshot boot is introduced. Snapshot boot is essentially a resume-from-disk operation, which is a system resume from a semi-permanent snapshot image stored on disk or flash memory, that restores the machine to a known running state. As opposed to a standard resume operation, a snapshot image is made only once, stored on disk or flash memory, and same image is used repeatedly, every time the system is powered on. Other fast boot techniques that are discussed are: use of prelinking, a scheme to reduce the startup cost of symbol relocation overhead for links to dynamic libraries, execute in place (XIP) to reduce or avoid OS and application loading delays, toolchain modifications to collect global constructors in one place to accomplish a locality benefit, and making the program .data section demand-paged from flash to avoid fully loading its pages on startup.

Unless otherwise stated, the startup time referred to in this paper is the time from the system power on to the time user can manipulate the device. This includes userland application startup as well as kernel startup time.

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